BlueNC's blog

Thursday News: Primary season

TWO MORE MONTHS UNTIL NC CHOOSES PARTY CANDIDATES: Feb. 3: The Democratic nominating process begins in earnest with the Iowa caucuses (though early voting will have already begun in a handful of other states). In the last four open Democratic presidential contests, the Iowa winner has gone on to become the party’s nominee. Feb. 11: New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary will take place. With two neighboring state senators (Sanders and Warren) vying for a top finish there, New Hampshire could determine which of the two progressive rivals departs the race first. March 3: Fourteen states are scheduled to hold their primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday, representing nearly half of all the Democratic delegates in the contest. The biggest prize will be California. Texas, Colorado, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Virginia and Tennessee are some of the other delegate-rich states voting that day.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article238861158.html

Wednesday News: Bloomberg blitz

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LATE-ENTRY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE OPENS TWO MORE NC OFFICES: Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg plans to make Raleigh and Fayetteville two of his first New Year’s destinations. The former New York mayor is opening field offices in both cities on Friday while visiting North Carolina, according to an email the campaign sent to the NC Insider. Bloomberg’s Raleigh office will be located on Davie Street. The Democrat plans to meet with voters, staff and supporters in both cities; as well as military families and veterans in downtown Fayetteville. The downtown Raleigh event will be open to the public with Bloomberg scheduled to speak at noon at the new office. The campaign had not released a more specific location on Davie Street as of late Tuesday. Bloomberg’s strategy to win the 2020 election is to focus on states like North Carolina that vote on March 3 or later, the Charlotte Observer previously reported. He is currently fifth in the polls for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a polling average from RealClearPolitics.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article238874918.html

Tuesday News: Thumping with bibles

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RELIGION MAY BE A CENTRAL THEME IN 2020 POLITICAL CONTESTS: Religious faith seems destined to become more of an issue in state and national elections as some Republican candidates such as U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina suggest that Democrats are bent on quashing religious freedom in America. Democratic candidates are increasingly being pushed to proclaim their faith as a supporting pillar of the policies they put forth. The 2020 campaign may turn out to be, in part, a contest between Tillis and his Democratic opponent’s interpretations of the tenets of the Christian faith. Another religious institution — the United Methodist Church — will inch closer in 2020 to a resolution of its rift over the ordination of gay clergy and the marriage of gay and lesbian couples. The UMC’s governing body voted in 2019 to strengthen language in its Book of Discipline banning gay clergy and gay marriage, but there was no mass exodus by church members in the U.S. who disagreed with the decision.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article238652138.html

Monday News: Fútbol?

LAND HAS BEEN PURCHASED FOR RALEIGH SOCCER STADIUM AND OTHER DEVELOPMENT: The purchase of the first tract of land is split across both sides of the I-40 beltline next to South Saunders Street and was bought from the North Carolina Equipment Company for $11 million. The second site at the intersection of I-40 and South Wilmington Street was bought for $8.6 million from Elite Waste Services, a Raleigh waste company. The remaining 44.5 acres of land for the proposed stadium to the right of South Saunders Street and Penmarc Drive will be purchased next year from seller Alice Penny, Redmond said. An outdoor 20,000-seat stadium surrounded by high-rises and other private development is envisioned for the future. Developers want the stadium to hold other athletic, musical and community events beside NCFC and NC Courage matches. Downtown South has been described by Malik as another “North Hills,” referencing the project’s proposed office, retail, hotel and apartment space. The proposal consists of 1.6 million square feet of office space, 1,200 hotel rooms, 1,750 apartments and 125,00 square feet of retail.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/business/article238693603.html

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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PRIORITIES VOTERS SHOULD DEMAND FROM THE CANDIDATES WHO SEEK THEIR SUPPORT: Here’s what voters should demand and candidates – no matter the political party – should embrace: Support implementation of the recommendations outlined in the report recently released by Superior Court Judge David Lee, so the state meets its constitutional mandate to provide EVERY student with an opportunity for a sound basic education in public schools – no matter where they live. In the more than two decades since the Leandro ruling North Carolina has, according to the report, lost ground in meeting the court order and our constitutional requirement rather than moving closer to it. Expand Medicaid to the 650,000 working North Carolina citizens who are currently denied access to health care. It is no exaggeration that this is a life-and-death matter. Studies estimated that failure to expand Medicaid has cost between 516 and 1,740 North Carolinians their lives for lack of access to care. Adopt non-partisan criteria and a non-partisan system for creating congressional and legislative election districts.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-priorities-voters-should-demand-from-the-candidates-who-seek-their-su...

Saturday News: Suppressing voter suppression

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FEDERAL JUDGE PUTS HOLD ON NC VOTER ID LAW FOR PRIMARY: A federal judge in North Carolina said Thursday she would block the law, at least temporarily, as the voter ID lawsuit against the state continues. She said she will make her official ruling next week, but wanted to give advance notice of her decision. The judge, Loretta Biggs, wrote that state elections officials had been planning “a very large statewide mailing” next week to tell voters about the ID law, and she wanted to let them know they wouldn’t need to do that after all. Details of what exactly the judge is planning to order are still not entirely clear. A spokeswoman for Attorney General Josh Stein, who must now decide how the state will react to the judge’s decision, said his office will wait to see the actual ruling next week before making any decisions on how to proceed.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article238747723.html

Friday News: On the brink

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ONLY 14 RED WOLVES REMAIN IN THE WILDS OF EASTERN NC: The fight over the critically endangered red wolf has returned to court as North Carolina's governor sought immediate help for the dozen or so remaining in the wild and federal biologists planned to transfer wolves into the recovery area for the first time in years. In late November, Gov. Roy Cooper sent the secretary of the interior a sharply worded letter warning that, with no more than 14 known wolves in the wild, “the American red wolf is on the brink of extinction.” He noted that in 2019, no litters of red wolf pups were born in the wild for the first time in the history of the reintroduction program. Red wolves once occupied much of the Eastern U.S. but were driven to near extinction by trapping, hunting and habitat loss before they were reintroduced to North Carolina in 1987. Their range is limited to five North Carolina counties. Another 200 live in captive breeding programs.
https://www.wral.com/red-wolves-court-battle-reignites-as-governor-urges-action/18853780/

Thursday News: Facebook faux-pas

STATE ELECTIONS BOARD WARNS COUNTY MEMBERS TO STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA: The state board ultimately voted 4-1 last week to reject a pair of complaints filed by local Republican Party leader Jane Pait against two members of the Bladen County Board of Elections, who she accused of posting statements on Facebook that disparaged President Donald Trump. One of the posts in question involved an image of Trump’s face superimposed on the head of a lion with the caption “The Lyin’ King.” “We have spent a disproportionate time on social media posts,” chairman Damon Circosta said. “It absolutely has to stop. ... Stop posting on social media, look back at your own social media.” Board member David Black echoed those concerns. “It’s important that you not seem to be biased in any way when you’re talking to the public,” Black said. “Get off Facebook, delete your Twitter account. ... It’s just not worth the effort to try to make those types of posts.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article238675608.html

Wednesday News: All aboard...

PROPOSED HIGH-SPEED RAIL LINE WOULD CONNECT RALEIGH TO RICHMOND: A blockbuster deal announced last week between freight railroad CSX and the state of Virginia includes something for North Carolina that will help with the development of high-speed rail between Raleigh and Richmond. CSX agreed to allow the N.C. Department of Transportation to eventually acquire about 10 miles of railroad right-of-way in Warren County, between Ridgeway and the Virginia state line. Virginia will acquire another 65 miles of the CSX line from the state line north to near Petersburg. The state’s long-term plans for rail service include passenger trains capable of going 110 miles per hour between Raleigh and Richmond on the S-line. Orthner says the tracks also could be used eventually for commuter rail service between downtown Raleigh and Wake Forest. NCDOT is working to eliminate railroad crossings on the CSX line in Wake County by building bridges, starting with Durant and New Hope Church roads in Raleigh.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article238656743.html

Tuesday News: Tarheel of the Year

AFFORDABLE HOUSING BUILDER GREGG WARREN GETS NOD FROM N&O: Warren’s long commitment to affordable housing is why The News & Observer chose him as its Tar Heel of the Year. The honor comes as the need for housing affordability has emerged as a top issue in the Triangle, and concerns arise about gentrification displacing existing residents. Voters in Durham just approved a $95 million bond for affordable housing, and Raleigh’s new City Council is expected to put a bond before voters as well. “I think there’s an understanding that growth in our region is dependent on many who don’t earn a lot of great wages,” Warren says. “And I think that if we can’t deal with the wage issue, perhaps at least we can make some impact with the housing cost issue, which is the largest single cost that people typically incur.” People who have worked with Warren over the years describe him as an astute businessman with a passion for helping people of modest means.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/article238210239.html

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